Object Lessons is an essay and book series about the unseen secret lives of ordinary things, from remote controls to morel mushrooms, blankets to barcodes. And, presumably, trash or things destined to become trash.
Each Object Lessons project starts from a specific prompt: an anthropological query, archeological discovery, historical event, literary passage, personal narrative, philosophical speculation, technological innovation-and from there develop original insights around and novel lessons about the object in question. In this way Object Lessons harnesses recent movements in material culture studies and critical theory, while also forming a collection of volumes that will be of perennial interest, able to adapt and diversify over time and reflect fresh scholarly trends as new objects and lessons appear. The emphasis throughout is lucid writing, imagination, and brevity.
Object Lessons invites contributions from scholars, writers, journalists, and anybody else, too. Lithe, writerly essays of roughly 2,000 words are published online at The Atlantic. Concise, affordable, beautifully designed books of roughly 25,000 words are published in print and electronic formats by Bloomsbury.